Tag Archives: SQLServer

SQL Doc by RedGate

SQL DocI recently was on a call where a technical unit indicated they did not receive any form of documentation around the vendor database that was created. Now, seeing that I fall into the database profession it sparked my fancy. I began to ask a few questions to the individual who was asking for this documentation; these are important questions in that you have to determine if there is a need for what was running through my mind. Sure enough, the technical team, was just needing some guidance on overall structure and what they were dealing with in terms of tables, procedures, and so on. This group was trying to review and write a process around information they were not privy to.

My mind went straight for the SQL Doc utility that RedGate has available. It’s a simple utility really to utilize and often times can save the day for such cases like the one above. Check out the steps below on how easy the utility allows you to document a database on the fly:

Step 1: As you open the application you will be prompted to enter a server location followed by how you’d like to connect to it (Windows or SQL authentication). In this case we’ll just hook up to a local instance I have on hand.

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Step 2: Once connected you’ll have some default settings. There will be a cover page option along with the databases that you want to document.

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Step 3: Looking at the project you’ll begin to review some of the following information:

  • Database Selection
  • Server Properties
  • Server Settings
  • Advanced Server Settings
  • Sections that are included in the report

For this specific test I’m just going to take a look at the TempDB

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The screen capture will note that under Object Types you are able to drill into and get as granular as you can. The below example will show you a snippet from a table in the TempDB and will also show that you can enter a description of what the field is utilized for in the far right hand column under Description.

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Step 4: If you have to save this documentation out for any meetings or other purposes you can create a cover letter along with any logo information and description. Simply click on the cover page option on the left menu and complete the following:

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Step 5: After all the choices are made you can click on the General Documentation Go button on the menu and be prompted for the following:

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Give the location and file a name and BOOM; you’re done.

Summary

You may find yourself in a situation where you are needing a quick hit for documentation purposes. If you are an avid RedGate user and enjoy using their SQL Doc product; or maybe you had this product and didn’t even know what it was then you can benefit greatly from documenting multiple databases in a matter of minutes. This post is to show you what type of utility SQL Doc is and what it can actually be used for in a real life circumstance. In the end it was the right product and right time to use it for a technical team in need. Well done RedGate, well done.

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PASS Summit Live Keynote – Release 1

pass_2016_website

Joseph Sirosh taking the stage by first telling us a story with over 400 million children in India. Only 50% of them attend school regularly. Consider the loss of potential that could have been a doctor.

Millions more like these children; a world of lost human potential. Millions who drop out on opportunities. Enter the term Data. The school infrastructure and other parameters will allow them to predict school drop out and the risk of under performance.

All this from data? Over 5 million children will be scored by data machine learning and the Azure cloud?

A.C.I.D. Intelligence – Algorithms/Cloud IOT/Data

Intelligence of software in every piece of software that we have. Finished applications like office 365 to many more by sprinkling the so cold pixie dust of A.C.I.D into the mix.

Intelligence DB – Intelligent Lake – Deep Intelligence

Intelligence DB – pushing intelligence to where data lives. Sharing machine learning around marketable applications is key. This pattern will allow intelligence to become just like data.

SQL 2016 is truly becoming the platform for data intelligence

 

 

Is ROI for Vendors Worth the SQL Saturday Investment?

networkingPiggy backing onto the recent SQL Saturday post here in Louisville, I wanted to take a more in-depth look, from my perspective, on how vendors all fit into these events.

Having the opportunity to work alongside these vendors has been both a learning experience for myself along with forming new bonds along the way. Louisville has been fortunate enough to have some of the best vendors in our industry who see the importance of investing time in others for a few reasons.

  • Networking
  • Getting their products name out
  • Growing their local community pool
  • Bringing exposure to their company

SQL Saturday events provide a much more intimate setting with a lower number of attendees. Example our event for the past two years had over 220 users sign up. This is a much smaller scale then say what a PASS conference has signed up where over five thousand of your closest friends attend.

The SQL Saturday events allow the attendees to get up close and personal with the vendors on products that they may or may not use. That’s great Chris, but I’m a vendor and how would I get ROI out of it; because at the end of the day if I want to sponsor an event there needs to be some gains on my end?

This therein is a valid question and one that is not taken lightly. In speaking with a vendor they had this to say about our event:

Our sponsorship of SQL Saturday allowed us to connect with a wealth of developers and DBAs, in a single day. The event was organized, productive, and time well spent furthering our business in Louisville.

I am starting to see soft metrics, such as intangibles, in determining the business value sending data professionals for respective vendors to such events. What kind of intangibles? They’re the stuff that doesn’t show up in traditional cost-accounting methods but that truly makes a difference in maximizing the potential knowledge growth of the organization. These include employee learning, vendor interaction, business relationships, and networking. Some of these are clearly more quantifiable than others, but all are important to a vendors success.

Some outside thoughts on how ROI for vendors is applicable:

  • You have to evaluate your audience.
  • Make sure your input channel, in this case your interaction with attendees, has some new features for viewing.
  • List of attendees for potential future clients.
  • Make your presence known prior to event (outside the marketing done by said event).
  • Commitment from potential attendees
  • Flexibility

End of the day, vendors are a huge part from all angles in regards to SQL Saturday events. Getting a great local base at events like this continues to build and solidify companies advancement in the technology space; specifically around the Microsoft stack.

Conclusion

If you are interested in getting involved you can check out or view upcoming schedules at the SQL Saturday home page here.

From personal experience I know that talking with vendors at said events it has opened doors and opportunities for business in my current and previous shops along with building a network base for future discussions.

Are SQL Saturday’s Worth It?

VenueThis past weekend I was fortunate enough to be a part of Louisville’s (for those local the ‘ville) SQL Saturday event held at Indiana Wesleyan. Most of you who end up on this site are probably familiar with it, but for those that aren’t familiar with SQL Saturday events you can check out their site here.

Now to put on an event like this is nothing short of an incredible effort from volunteers, sponsors, speakers, and attendees. Being able to help co-organize the one here in Louisville has been a humbling yet gratifying experience. Let me see if I can break it down a different way for you, the reader, who may not have had the opportunity yet to volunteer or attend such an event.

Volunteers

You can see these people usually with matching shirts on and a lanyard with their name and a ribbon that only says “volunteer.” In the past when I’ve attended such events I knew people helped out to put something like this on, but never in my wildest dreams did I envision all that it took until I volunteered.

Volunteering is not for glitz, glamor, or glory. Instead volunteering is what helps the cogs in the wheel move to get the steam engine running down the track. It is the staple of helping afford the opportunity for free learning to attendees and colleagues in our field.

Many, many, and many hours go into planning and organizing an event; if you attend one of these events make sure you seek a volunteer or organizer out and say thank you for their time; they are doing this for free and on their own time away from their families.

Mala Mahadevan (B|T) as a founding organizer of our event I thank you for allowing me to be a part of it these past few years.

Sponsors

Over the years, SQL Saturday Louisville has been blessed with some great sponsors. For the previous two years, John Morehouse (B|T) and I have taken great pride in working with some stellar companies. Without them, we would not be able to do what we do which is concentrate on the attendees and helping people learn.

Our Gold sponsors this year were:

Gold

  1. EMC
  2. Farm Credit Mid-America
  3. Imperva
  4. Microsoft
  5. Republic Bank
  6. Pyramid Analytics

 

Our Silver and Bronze sponsors this year were:

SilverBronze

  1. Idera
  2. PASS
  3. PureStorage
  4. Tek Systems
  5. Click-IT Staffing
  6. Homecare Homebase
  7. Datavail
  8. SQLSentry

A major thank you for all of their contributions and it is always a pleasure to work with all of you.

Speakers

It always amazes me at the number of speakers we have who send in sessions to our event. These speakers are people from all over the U.S. who are willing to travel and give their time so attendees can learn. Getting to spend time with each of them is not always an easy task, but always thankful to catch up with many friends at the speaker dinner.

It was awesome to see the attendees interacting with the speakers asking their questions and getting insight into the variously presented topics. And, because of so many good sessions to choose from, there was a buzz in the air.

As is the case with the volunteers mentioned above, speakers also travel on their own dime, away from their families – a simple thank you goes a long way. Also, for these sessions, I do want to point out that feedback cards are provided; please please please take a moment and make sure you provide good insightful feedback to the speakers. Each speaker uses this feedback to improve their sessions or have take-a-ways on what may or may not have worked. Yes, folks, these are important!

I won’t list every speaker we had; that is not the intent of this topic. But I will take a moment and say to each and every speaker who attended SQL Saturday Louisville 531 we thank you.

Attendees

Two words – – THE PEOPLE. As I have stated, these last two years has been nothing short of amazing. Seeing light bulbs go off with attendees who are learning from some of the best, and having discussions with attendees is why we do what we do.

When individuals come to us stating it was their first time at the event, and they had no idea that there is a local Louisville SQL User Group opens the doors to help reach people in our tech community.

Steve Jones (B|T), who is part of my Fab Five, talks about Dreaming of SQL Saturday. If you have not had a chance to read his post, check it out. Attendees travel from quite a distance. Which tells me the people are eager to learn.

Conclusion

So, the question I opened with “Is SQL Saturday Worth It?” Considering what I know now versus what I knew then the answer is yes. Personally, being a product of these types of events, I am living proof of what can grow from the SQL Community.

Whether you volunteer, speak, sponsor, or attend, all of these make the wheel turn. It’s a team effort with a lot of hard work. So, next time you attend one of these events, please don’t take them for granted.

Here is to continued learning, as we move forward to grow this community!

Interview with Warwick Rudd

 

Leadership-2

Part of traveling to various events and being a part of the SQL Community means one can meet some pretty awesome professionals. I was fortunate enough to run into Warwick Rudd (B|T) at one of the PASS Summit events held in Seattle, and he definitely lives up to all the hype.

Warwick is a SQL Server MVP, Microsoft Certified Master – SQL 2008, MCT, Founder and Principal Consultant at SQL Masters Consulting. He’s definitely an avid blogger, talented speaker, and a leader in our SQL Community.

After PASS Summit 2015 we kicked an idea around about getting something like this going where we could share a few questions and answers; the timing finally aligned right and well, without further ado:

  • How did  you get your start in working with SQL Server?

I was working as a UNIX scripting developer on an in house created scripting language. The company had a couple of web developers who had installed SQL Server 6.5 and the company needed someone to look after the SQL server environment. I moved in with the oracle DBA’s as there were no SQL server DBA’s and my first training course was delivered by Greg Low. Look where things have led me to now?

  • If there was another occupation you could see yourself doing what would it be and why?

Physiotherapy – I have played  a lot of sports and some to a very high level. Sports and sports remediation I find interesting and just naturally enjoy learning about it.

  • Being in technology we do play some pranks on our fellow colleagues. What is one that you are willing to share, that you have done in your past?

I was working in a bank and at the time we actually did not have pc’s but dumb terminals. We disconnected the keyboard and put sticky tape over the connection before seating the connection back just enough to make it look as though it was plugged in to pass initial inspection of why the keyboard was not working.

  • Where is one place that you would love to speak at someday (conference, SQL Saturday, event, etc.)?

Ha-ha this is a tough one as there are so many different things to take into consideration. But I guess I would love to speak at SQL Saturday in Colorado if it was ever available in winter as I love being in the snow and snowboarding – I would then get to do 2 things I enjoy. There are some bigger events, if I ever got the opportunity to speak at, that would be so humbling to be selected for, but I will keep those close to my chest so as to not jinx myself 🙂

  • For those out there that have not heard of SQL Community, what would you say in 3 words describes SQL Community?

Friendly, Supportive, Intelligent

Big thanks to Warwick for allowing us to take a glimpse into some of his thoughts. If you are ever at an event make sure you stop by and say hi to him; just a stellar individual.

Time Management–Leadership

TimeLeadershipTo many times data professionals flounder in what some call a pool of uncertainty. The countless tasks, tickets, projects, and emails that may flow in without prioritizing will leave individuals searching for what is needed to be worked on now.

Organize or Agonize

Face it, we all influence someone. Whether you are a sole DBA out in the field or a leader of many there will be times when one will have some form of influence. There will be times when a data professional needs to juggle a multitude of tasks; being a leader in this area is key – either you organize or you will agonize over what all has to be done.

Here are some tips in how to organize and become better at time management:

  • High Importance / High Urgency – tackle these projects first
  • High Importance / Low Urgency – set deadlines around completion dates and work these into your daily routine
  • Low Importance / High Urgency – find quick and efficient ways to get this work completed without much personal involvement
  • Low Importance / Low Urgency – this is busy or repetitive work (think about automation if possible)

Too Many Priorities Can Paralyze You

The papers on the task keep growing, emails keep coming in, automated jobs are failing, on call is ringing off the hook, and you suddenly get that “frozen feeling” of what in the world am I going to do? If you’ve been in this business long enough than you know what I am talking about. If you are feeling this way go ahead and get the tasks organized then approach your boss about how best to approach them and what their advice may be. True leaders want to help their employees as much as they can and this is one of the areas that all of us can work on. All good leaders have learned to say no to the good and yes to the best, and one of the keys to success is keeping that line of communication open with your boss.

Monica Rathbun (B|T) has a great post on The Shield. I suggest after you finish reading this post you go check hers out; a superb written post that provides insight into a lone DBA’s world.

Leader or Follower

A person is either an initiator or a reactor when it comes to planning. In my past dealings I’ve found that these hold true; note the difference:

Reactors

  • React
  • Listen and wait for the phone to ring
  • Spend time living day-to-day reacting to issues
  • Fill the calendar by requests
  • Spend time with people

Leaders

  • Initiate
  • Lead; pick up the phone and make contact with people
  • Spend time planning and anticipate problems
  • Invest time with people
  • Fill their calendar by priorities

Often times we see that when people lack ownership of an idea, they usually are hesitant to change. It affects routine, causes a disruption, and at times creates fear of the unknown. Uncharted territories cause insecurities to rise; four important cycles that will stand out around effective change are create, conserve, criticize, and change.

As a data professional there will be times when you are faced with bringing about change; here is a checklist that you may be able to garner some ideas from and assist you in helping you to bring forth implementing or requesting changes.

  • Will this change benefit others?
  • Is this change compatible with the purpose of the organization?
  • Is this change specific and clear?
  • Is it possible to test this change before making a total commitment to it?
  • Are physical, financial, and human resources available to make this change (what else is on the plate?)
  • Is this change reversible?
  • Is this change the next obvious step?
  • Does this change have both short and long-term benefits?
  • Is the leadership capable of bringing about this change?
  • Is the timing right?

The wrong decision at the wrong time = disaster

The wrong decision as the right time = mistake

The right decision at the wrong time = unacceptable

The right decision at the right time = success

Closing Thoughts

The above are methods that I’ve picked up over the years that have helped me not only become a better data professional, but a leader. I’ll leave you with a few insights into what a solid foundation could be built on; it will be up to you to become the leader that you want to be; along with honing in your time management skills.

The definition of leadership is influence.

The key to leadership is priorities.

The most important part of leadership is integrity.

The most ultimate test of leadership is creating positive change.

An extra plus in leadership is attitude.

What is your most appreciable asset – people.

The indispensable quality of leadership is vision.

The price tag of leadership is self-discipline.

May we never lose sight or focus of our dreams and goals. Obstacles will occur, but they are just that obstacles with solutions waiting to be had. Take the hard knocks as lessons that can be learned. There will be many, life’s journey is full of them – what kind of impact will you have?

Leadership and the Data Professional

 

Leadership

Many traits make up data professionals and the many who find themselves in leadership roles. The traits being shared in this blog post are ones that have helped me on my journey not just in a leadership role, but from a data professional perspective as well.

I debated often on sharing these; maybe even turning them into a session somewhere down the road. Also knowing that these are not set in stone traits for others; each data professional has their own thoughts and the way they conduct themselves on a day to day basis, but if someone can glean any insight or help by this post then it would be worth the share.

Jumping right into it then shall we? Many of you know my sports background; it is something I am not ashamed of nor try to hide. A lot of traits have carried over from my sports background into my career and as I go through these traits you will see some similarities shine through.

The Base – Industriousness, Friendship, Loyalty, Cooperation, Enthusiasm

Building a house means you start with building a solid foundation. These traits are ones that stick out to me as building part of that solid foundation:

  • Industriousness – “Success travels in the company of very hard work. There is no trick no easy way.” – put forth that effort
  • Friendship – “Strive to build a team or be part of a team that is filled with camaraderie and respect: comrades-in-arms.”
  • Loyalty – “Be true to yourself. Be true to those you lead.”
  • Cooperation – “Have utmost concern for what’s right rather than who’s right.”
  • Enthusiasm – “Your energy, enjoyment, drive, and dedication will stimulate and greatly inspire others.”

The Second Layer – Self-Control, Alertness, Initiative, Intentness

  • Self-Control – “Be disciplined” – enough said.
  • Alertness – “Constantly be aware and observing. Always seek to improve yourself and the team.”
  • Initiative – “Make a decision! Failure to act is often the biggest failure of all.”
  • Intentness – “Stay the course. When thwarted try again; harder, smarter. Persevere relentlessly.”

The Third Layer – Condition, Skill, Team Spirit

  • Condition – “Ability may get you to the top, but character will keep you there – mental, moral, and physical.”
  • Skill – “What a leader learns after you’ve learned it counts most of all.”
  • Team Spirit – “The star of the team is the team. ‘We’ supersedes ‘me’.”

The Fourth Layer – Poise, Confidence

  • Poise – “Be yourself. Don’t be thrown off by events whether they are good or bad.”
  • Confidence – “The strongest steel is well founded self-belief. It’s is earned; not given.”

The Final Layer – Competitive Greatness

  • “Perform at your best when your best is required. Your best is required each day.”

Do I follow these principles every day? I wish I could say yes, but nevertheless I do not. I strive for these as in my heart I believe them to be solid foundations for me as a data professional, but I am human.

With success does come failure, but what defines you as an individual is not how many times you get knocked down. Instead it is how many times you get back up from the knockdowns that you will receive on your journey.

I’ll leave you with these lessons I’ve learned both in sports and being a data professional:

  • Good values attract good people
  • Love is the most powerful four letter word
  • Call yourself a teacher
  • Emotion can be your enemy at times
  • It takes all team members hands to make a team; not just one set
  • Little things make big things happen
  • Make each day your masterpiece
  • The carrot is mightier than the stick
  • Make greatness attainable by all
  • Seek significant change
  • Don’t keep a scoreboard of who is right and who is wrong
  • Adversity is your asset

Whatever you build your foundation on as a data professional make it yours and own it. You are the playmaker of your career, and orchestrator if you will.

Coach John Wooden is behind a lot of these thoughts in which I have built these foundations on. A statement he made resonated with me when I heard it, “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.”

I ask you, are you becoming the best of which you are capable of?